Study Guide

A Lesson Before Dying Prejudice

By Ernest J. Gaines

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In A Lesson Before Dying, the lives of most of the characters is set, and not because of their own actions but rather because of what others expect of them. Most of those expectations and prejudices are based on race. But that's not the only factor driving the prejudice in this novel. There are other games in Prejudice Town: occupation, social status, and gender also come into play.

Questions About Prejudice

  1. Think of an interaction in the novel that reveals at least two prejudices. What kinds of things cause people to prejudge each other and how do they act on their prejudices?
  2. How does prejudice cause characters in the novel to miss opportunities because they don't believe they have a chance?
  3. Are there any moments in the novel where people learn that their prejudices were incorrect, or at least reevaluate them? When and how?

Chew on This

What Grant learns is that his prejudice about himself is what is holding him back, not necessarily other people's prejudices about him.

Grant has to fight his own prejudice toward Jefferson before he can ever begin to help him.

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